AFC Bournemouth Football Club - History & Notable Players

AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth crest


  • Name:AFC Bournemouth Football Club

  • Nickname: The Cherries

  • Founded: 1890 (as Boscombe St. John's Institute FC)

  • Renamed: 1899 to Boscombe FC

  • Renamed: 1923 to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club

  • Renamed: 1972 to A.F.C. Bournemouth

  • Ground: Dean Court / Vitality Stadium

  • Ground capacity: 11,700


Vintage picture of Bournemouth and Boscombe AFC

Boscombe F.C.
Although the exact date of the club's foundation is not known, there is proof that it was formed in the autumn of 1899 out of the remains of the older Boscombe St. John's Lads’ Institute F.C. The club was originally known as Boscombe F.C.. The first President was Mr J.C. Nutt.

In their first season 1899–1900 Boscombe F.C. competed in the Bournemouth and District Junior League. They also played in the Hants Junior Cup. During the first two seasons they played on a football pitch in Castlemain Avenue, Pokesdown. From their third season the team played on a pitch in King's Park. In the season of 1905–06 Boscombe F.C. graduated to senior amateur football.

In 1910 the club was granted a long lease upon some wasteland next to Kings Park, as the clubs football ground, by their president Mr J.E. Cooper-Dean. With their own ground, named Dean Court after the benefactor, the club continued to thrive and dominated the local football scene. Also in 1910 the club signed their first professional football player B. Penton.

Around about this time the club obtained their nickname 'The Cherries'. Foremost there are two tales on how the club gained this pet name. First, because of the cherry-red striped shirts that the team played in and, perhaps more plausible, because Dean Court was built adjacent to the Cooper-Dean estate, which encompassed numerous cherry orchards.

For the first time during the season of 1913–14 the club competed in the F.A. Cup. The clubs progress was halted in 1914 with the outbreak of the war and Boscombe F.C. returned to the Hampshire league.

In 1920 the Third Division was formed and Boscombe were promoted to the Southern League, with moderate success.

Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club
To make the club more representative of the district, the name was changed to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club in 1923. During the same year the club was elected to the Football League. The first league match was in Swindon on 25 August 1923, Bournemouth lost 3–1. The first league game at Dean Court was also against Swindon, Bournemouth gained their first league point with a goalless draw.

Initially Bournemouth struggled in the Football League, but eventually established themselves as a Third Division club. Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club remain on the records as the longest continuous members of the Third Division.

As a league club, Bournemouth had to wait until after the Second World War before winning their first trophy. This was accomplished as they beat Walsall in the Third Division (South) Cup in the final at Stamford Bridge.

Vintage picture of Bournemouth fans at Dean Court
A.F.C. Bournemouth
Under manager John Bond the club adopted the more streamlined A.F.C. Bournemouth name in 1972. At the same time, the club adopted a new badge as a symbol of the club's progress. The stripes in the background were based on the club shirt, while in the foreground is the profile of a player heading the ball, in honour of Dickie Dowsett, a prolific scorer for the club in the 1950s and 1960s.

Their red and black kit, introduced in 1971, was based on the old A.C. Milan strip.[citation needed] This was the era of Ted MacDougall, a prolific goalscorer who, in an FA Cup tie in November 1971, scored nine goals in an 11–0 win against Margate.

Late 20th century
The club recorded a famous victory over holders Manchester United in the FA Cup in January 1984, while they were managed by Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp took Bournemouth into the second tier of the English league for the first time in their history as Third Division champions in 1987. After comfortably surviving in their first season in Division Two, Bournemouth made a serious challenge for promotion to the top-flight in the 1988–89 season; they ultimately fell away after a poor run late in the season, but their eventual finish of 12th place remained their highest-ever Football League until the 2013–2014 season.

On 5 May 1990, the final day of the 1989–90 season, Leeds United had the chance to win the Second Division and gain promotion into the First Division by beating Bournemouth at Dean Court. Some United fans had already caused trouble in the town during the morning and the atmosphere was tense as Leeds won the match by a single goal. Combined with the results of other matches, this meant that Leeds were promoted while Bournemouth were relegated. The violence and destruction by visitors to Bournemouth continued over the holiday weekend, causing more than £1 million worth of damage and injury to opposing fans and police officers.

The town's Daily Echo newspaper reported that 'spectators, including many young children, had to run to safety as missiles were hurled and riot police waded in to control the crowds'. The matter was raised in Parliament by one of the town's MPs. Financially, the Leeds trouble affected the club for more than a decade, as Bournemouth were prevented by local police from staging home games on Bank Holidays (traditionally a popular day for football) until a game against Shrewsbury Town on 21 April 2003.

Redknapp remained at the club for two more seasons, both of which ended with the club falling three points short of the play-offs. However, mounting financial pressures caused him to resign his position at the end of the 1991–92 season, and he subsequently rejoined former club West Ham United as a coach. He was replaced by Tony Pulis, who built a much cheaper squad which could only manage two consecutive 17th place finishes before Pulis walked out of the club, blaming financial pressures much as his predecessor had done.

Bournemouth went the first few months of the 1994–95 season without a permanent manager in place, and a dreadful start saw them bottom of the table for much of the first half of the season. Despite a minor upturn in form when Mel Machin was appointed as manager, they looked highly unlikely to survive, given that there were five relegation spots in Division Two for that season due to league reconstruction. However, a late run of form combined with collapses by relegation rivals Cambridge United and Plymouth Argyle saw them survive on the last day of the season by just two points.

Machin ultimately remained in charge for six years, most of which were marked by unremarkable mid-table finishes. The 1998–99 season proved to be arguably the highlight of his tenure, with the club making a serious play-off challenge for most of the season, but ultimately falling short and finishing 7th. However, a drop to 16th place in the 1999–2000 season followed by a bad start to the following season saw Machin removed from his position and given the job of director of football.

Early 21st century
Sean O'Driscoll was promoted from the coaching staff in place of Mel Machin at the start of the 2000–01 season. In O'Driscoll's first season as manager, Bournemouth narrowly missed out on the Division Two playoffs, but were relegated a year later in the new stadium. The board kept faith in O'Driscoll and they were rewarded with promotion via the Division Three playoffs in 2002–03. The club became the first to score 5 goals at the Millennium Stadium when they beat Lincoln City 5–2 in the 2002–03 Division Three play-off final with goals from Steve Fletcher, Carl Fletcher (2), Stephen Purches and Garreth O'Connor. Under O'Driscoll, Bournemouth narrowly missed out on the play-offs for the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons, and just avoided relegation in the 2005–06 season.

Long-serving player James Hayter scored the fastest league hat-trick in English Football League history during the 2003–04 season. The Cherries were leading 3–0 against Wrexham thanks to goals from Stephen Purches, Warren Cummings and Warren Feeney when Hayter was brought onto the field as a substitute. With 86 minutes gone, Hayter managed to net three goals in the space of 2 minutes and 17 seconds, making the final score 6–0 to Bournemouth.

In September 2006, with the team in eighth in the League, Sean O'Driscoll left to become manager of Doncaster Rovers. He was replaced by Kevin Bond.

In February 2008, Bournemouth were forced into administration, suffering a 10-point deduction which put them in relegation trouble. Bournemouth had debts of around £4 million and almost went out of business completely. The off-field uncertainty continued throughout the season, with only one, ultimately unsuccessful, bid for the club accepted, and the club ended the season being relegated to League Two.

Ahead of the 2008–09 season, the team's future in the Football League was put into doubt when the league threatened to block Bournemouth's participation in League Two, due to problems with the team's continuing administration and change in ownership. It ordered both Bournemouth and Rotherham United to demonstrate that they could fulfil all of their fixtures and find a way out of administration, eventually allowing the club to compete with a 17-point penalty for failing to follow the Football League insolvency rules. The new company was also ordered to pay unsecured creditors the amount offered at the time of the original C.V.A. (around 10 pence in the pound) within two years. Early into the season, manager Bond was sacked and was replaced by former player Jimmy Quinn, who would himself leave the club only a few months later. Former player Eddie Howe took over as manager with the club still 10 points adrift at the bottom of the league and initially on a caretaker basis, becoming the youngest manager in the Football League at the age of 31.

At the end of 2008, it was announced that local businessman Adam Murry completed the purchase of 50% of the club's shares from previous chairman Paul Baker. However, in January 2009, Murry missed the deadline to buy Baker's shares.

In the final home game of the 2008–09 season the Cherries guaranteed their Football League status by beating Grimsby Town 2–1 with a winning goal 10 minutes from time by Bournemouth legend Steve Fletcher, sparking wild celebrations after a fairytale ending to 'The Great Escape'. They finished their troubled season with their best away win for 30 years with a 4–0 victory at Morecambe.

In June 2009, a consortium including Adam Murry finally took over AFC Bournemouth. The consortium included Jeff Mostyn, former vice-chairman Steve Sly, Neill Blake and former Dorchester Town chairman Eddie Mitchell.

Howe's first full season in charge brought success as Bournemouth finished second in League Two to earn promotion with two games to spare. Howe subsequently left the club for Burnley during the following season; his successor, another former Bournemouth player, Lee Bradbury, led Bournemouth to the League One play-offs. The two-legged semi-final against Huddersfield Town finished 3–3 after extra time, and Huddersfield went through the final by winning the penalty shoot-out 4–2. Bradbury was unable to lead Bournemouth to another promotion challenge in the 2011-12 Football League One, placing eleventh after a season of indifferent results, and was replaced by youth team coach Paul Groves for the final games of the season.

Groves remained in charge at the start of the 2012–13 season, only to be sacked in October 2012 following a start which left the club near the bottom of the table. Eddie Howe returned as manager, and not only did he pull the club away from their early-season relegation battle, they achieved promotion to the Championship, returning to the second-tier of English football for the first time since 1990. The club also revealed a new club crest. After a promising start to life in the Championship the club was handed a fourth Round FA Cup tie with Premier League club Liverpool which ended in a 2–0 loss. Bournemouth finished their first season back in the Championship in 10th place, their highest ever position in the Football League.

On 25 October 2014 Bournemouth won 8–0 away at St. Andrew's against Birmingham City. It was the first time that the Cherries had ever scored eight goals in a league game, barring a 10–0 win over Northampton Town in September 1939 which was expunged from the records after World War II broke out the next day, and they recorded their biggest winning margin in a league fixture. The club followed up this success with a 2–1 victory over Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup, reaching the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time. Bournemouth were again drawn against Liverpool but lost 3-1. The club spent most of the 2014-15 season near the top of the table, and a 3-0 win away at Charlton Athletic on the final day of the season was enough to clinch the Championship title, and a first ever promotion to the top flight of English football.

At the end of the 2019-20 season, which didn't finish until Sunday 26th July 2020 following a break in play during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, Bournemouth were relegated after finishing 18th. Then on Saturday 1st August 2020, the club announced that Eddie How had left by mutual consent.

Cherries chief executive Neill Blake said Howe was a Bournemouth legend who has helped "transform the identity and history of the club". He said the decision to part company was "even harder given our close personal friendship".

On Saturday 8th July 2020, Bournemouth announced that former assistant manager Jason Tindall had agreed a 3 year deal as their new manager. However, on 3rd February 2021, Tindall was sacked after just 6 months in the job.

Scott Parker was annouunced as the new Head Coach, signing a 3 year deal, on 28th June 2021.

Gary O'Neil

Picture of Gary O'Neil

The Facts

A.F.C. Bournemouth is a football club based in Bournemouth who will be playing in the Premier League, the top tier in the English football league system, from 2015–16.

The club plays at Dean Court in Kings Park, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset and has been in existence since 1899.

Nicknamed The Cherries, the team traditionally played in red shirts with white sleeves until 1971, when the strip was changed to red and black stripes, similar to that of A.C. Milan.

A predominantly red shirt was chosen for the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons before a return to the stripes for the 2006–07 season due to fan demand.

After narrowly avoiding relegation from the Football League in the 2008–09 season, Bournemouth were promoted to League One at the end of the 2009–10 season.

After making the League One play-off semi-finals in 2010–11, and achieving a mid-table finish in 2011–12, Bournemouth won promotion to the Championship at the end of the 2012–13 season, putting them in the second tier of the league for only the second time in their history.

In the 2014–15 season, they won the Championship title, and earned promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history.

However, on the final day of the 2019-20 season, Bournemouth were relegated from the Premier League.

For further information check out their Official website

Notable Players

picture of Sean O'Driscoll Bournemouth 1984-1995

Sean O'Driscoll 1984-1995

picture of Ted MacDougall - Bournemouth

Ted MacDougall - 1969 to 1972 & 1978 to 1980

picture of Steve Fletcher - Bournemouth

Steve Fletcher 1992 to 2007 & 2009 to 2013

picture of Steve Jones - Bournemouth

Steve Jones 1994-1996

picture of Tony Pulis - Bournemouth

Tony Pulis 1986 to 1989 & 1990 to 1992


  • English second tier
    (currently Football League Championship)
  • Champions: 2014–15

  • English third tier
    (currently Football League One)
    Champions: 1986–87

  • Runners-up (2): 1947–48, 2012–13

  • English fourth tier
    (currently Football League Two)
    Runners-up (2): 1970–71, 2009–10

  • Play-off winners: 2002–03

  • Promoted: 1981–82

  • Southern League Runners-up: 1922–23

  • Football League Trophy
    (currently The Johnstone's Paint Trophy)
    Winners: 1983–84

  • Runners-up: 1997-98

  • Football League Third Division South Cup
    Winners: 1945–46

picture of wikipedia logo

Dean Court - Vitality Stadium*

picture of Dean Court - The Goldsands Stadium
  • A.F.C Bournemouth - present
  • Capacity: 11,700 - Opened: 1910

Dean Court, known as Vitality Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is a football stadium in Bournemouth, England and the home ground of A.F.C. Bournemouth.

In 1910 Boscombe F.C. was given a piece of land by the town's Cooper-Dean family, after whom the ground was named. The land was the site of an old gravel pit, and the ground was not built in time for the start of the 1910–11 season. As a result, the club played at the adjacent King's Park until moving into Dean Court in December 1910. However, the club facilities were still not ready, and players initially had to change in a nearby hotel. Early developments at the ground included a 300-seat stand.

In 1923 the club were elected to Division Three South of the Football League, at which point they changed their name to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. The first Football League match was played at Dean Court on 1 September 1923, with 7,000 watching a 0–0 draw with Swindon Town. Subsequent ground improvements were made following the purchase of fittings from the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, which allowed the construction of a 3,700-seat stand. A covered terrace was added at the southern end of the ground in 1936.

The club's record League attendance was set on 14 April 1948, when 25,495 watched a 1–0 defeat to QPR. The overall record attendance was set on 2 March 1957, when 28,799 spectators watched an FA Cup match against Manchester United. Shortly afterwards, a roof was added to the western stand. The club also purchased more land behind the northern end of the ground, with the intention of enlarging the stand and building a leisure centre. However, the club ran out of money during its construction and abandoned the scheme in 1984. As a result, the half-built structure was demolished and housing was built on that part of the site. The club's lowest Football League attendance was set on 4 March 1986, when only 1,873 saw a 2–2 drawn with Lincoln City.

The ground was completely rebuilt in 2001, with the pitch rotated ninety degrees from its original position and the ground moved away from adjacent housing. Because the work was not finished in time for the start of the 2001–02 season, Bournemouth played their first eight games at the Avenue Stadium in nearby Dorchester. When Dean Court reopened with a game against Wrexham on 10 November, it gained its first sponsored name, becoming the Fitness First Stadium. Although it was rebuilt as a three sided stadium with a capacity of 9,600, seats were placed on the undeveloped south end in the autumn of 2005. On 24 February 2004 Bournemouth's James Hayter scored the Football League's fastest-ever hat-trick at Dean Court, scoring three goals in 2 minutes and 20 seconds during a 6–0 against Wrexham. The club sold the stadium in December 2005 in a sale-and-leaseback deal with London property company Structadene.

In the 2010–11 a temporary south stand was built, but was removed during the 2011–12 season after attendances fell. In July 2011 the stadium was renamed the Seward Stadium after the naming rights were sold to the Seward Motor Group. Following Seward entering administration in February 2012, the ground was subsequently renamed the Goldsands Stadium in a two-year deal. During the summer of 2013 a 2,400 seat stand was built on the undeveloped end of the ground as a result of the club's promotion to the Championship. In July 2013 it was named after former club striker Ted MacDougall.

Further redevelopment
In August 2014, chairman Jeff Mostyn revealed that the club were looking at the possibility of redeveloping the stadium rather than moving to Matchams. With a limited capacity of 11,700, the club were exploring the option of building a new, permanent stand should they continue to be successful in the Championship.

Other events
In 2013 both England Ladies and Under 16 sides played games at the ground. The stadium has also been used for music concerts, hosting Elton John in 2006.

*An announcement to change the name of the stadium to Vitality Stadium was made on 9th July 2016.

picture of Dean Court - Vitality Stadium